Farmers call for clear sugar beets subsidy plan. Cooperative in charge of implementing scheme - Lebanon

Farmers call for clear sugar beets subsidy plan
Cooperative in charge of implementing scheme
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The Association of Farmers called on the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to adopt a clear-cut strategy for supporting the plantation of sugar beets. Said Al Mays, Head of the Cooperative of Sugar Beets, said the cooperative is in charge of the support plan. “The cooperative will, in collaboration with the MoA and the Ministry of Economy and Trade, collect the harvest from farmers and deliver it to the sugar manufacturer, then sell the sugar produce,” he said.

The Association of Farmers also called on the MoA to be transparent about how the budget will be allocated for supporting the sector. Earlier, the MoA had said it planned to buy around 138,000 tons of sugar beets at a subsidized price of $116/ton instead of the market price of around $96/ton. The subsidy per ton is around $20. Farmers will benefit from only 12 percent of the allocated subsidy, according to Antoine Howayek, Head of the Association of Farmers.

Al Mays said: “The allocated budget, $17 million, is the maximum amount of support that the MoA could offer. We are not sure that we will use this entire amount.” The total amount of the subsidy will depend on the size of land planted and on the prices of sugar. Al Mays said: “So far we cannot estimate the size of the planted spaces, but as a first estimation the expected space is 35,000 donums (35 million square meters).” The cooperative will continue to accept applications from farmers until mid-March.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: 4/3/2013